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Glenn Maxwell’s revival, David Warner’s challenge, quicks go the distance

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Catch up with how the Australian names have gone in the opening stages of this year’s IPL

Maxwell’s revival

Last year’s IPL was a forgettable one for Glenn Maxwell as he tallied just 108 runs in 11 innings for Kings XI – without hitting a single six – and was subsequently let go. That did not stop him fetching a huge price this time around with Royal Challengers Bangalore and the contrast has been stark already. In three innings he has 176 runs, playing a key role in each of three wins to open RCB’s campaign. They made heavy weather of the chase against Mumbai Indians after Maxwell’s 39 off 28 ended, then his 59 off 41 was the standout innings in a low-scorer against Sunrisers Hyderabad. On Sunday he found top gear with 78 off 49 balls against Kolkata Knight Riders although that was somewhat overshadowed by AB de Villiers’ onslaught. Could this actually be RCB’s year?

Can Warner turn Sunrisers around?

It’s a long tournament so teams have time to bounce back, but David Warner has a few problems at the Sunrisers after they started with three defeats in a row. They have been in promising, or strong, positions in all three of their chases before falling short. In second of those losses they somehow failed to chase 150 against RCB despite Warner’s half-century taking them to 96 for 1 in the 14th over. Then against Mumbai, Warner and Jonny Bairstow put on 67 in 7.2 overs for the first wicket chasing 151 only for things to again fall in a heap with Warner run out in the 12th over when he was beaten by Hardik Pandya’s direct hit. “It’s just poor batting,” Warner said. “You just need smart cricket in the middle. At the moment we haven’t been able to produce that.”

Lynn makes an appearance, but just one

Chris Lynn spent the whole 2020 edition sat on the bench for Mumbai but was one of the names somewhat surprisingly retained. This time, with Quinton de Kock serving his pre-tournament quarantine having arrived from South Africa, he was named in the XI for the opening match against RCB and started well with 49 off 35 balls. Although there is a big gap involved, Lynn has passed 40 in eight of his last 11 IPL innings stretching back to 2019. That, for now, has been his lot though. With de Kock available for Mumbai’s second game, Lynn was forced out of the side and back to that familiar position on the bench.



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Recent Match Report – Durham vs Worcs Group 1 2021

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First hundred in five years for Burnham on day of dominance at Chester-le-Street

Worcestershire 213 (Fell 44, Leach 42*, Rushworth 5-56) and 60 for 0 need another 363 runs to beat Durham 246 (Lees 99, Tongue 5-39) and 389 for 5 dec (Young 103, Burnham 102*)

Durham require 10 wickets on the final day of their LV= Insurance County Championship match against Worcestershire after centuries from Will Young and Jack Burnham handed the visitors a daunting fourth-innings chase.

Young provided the foundation with his second century of the season in his final game for the home side. Burnham upped the ante late in the afternoon and notched his first hundred since May 2016. Ned Eckersley also provided a brisk knock of 86 from 57 balls, including six sixes.

Worcestershire’s openers faced a tough final hour, but Daryl Mitchell and Jake Libby remained unbeaten at the close after putting on a stand of 60, although their side require another 363 runs to pull off an unlikely victory at Emirates Riverside.

Durham added only three runs to their overnight total before Joe Leach found Scott Borthwick’s outside edge. Young held firm and worked his way his past fifty, reaching the milestone from 128 balls. He and David Bedingham put on a stand of 69 for the third wicket, but the latter played a loose drive before lunch to a Josh Tongue delivery and was caught behind.



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England’s challenge in 2021 is to peak for Australia ‘pinnacle’, says Joe Root

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Joe Root says that the challenge of taking on New Zealand, the world’s No.1-ranked Test team, followed by five home Tests against India and an away Ashes campaign, makes 2021 the sort of year that “you play the game for”.

However, Root also admitted that England’s new-look selection panel – now led by the head coach Chris Silverwood – faces a tricky balancing act to ensure the entire squad is fit and firing ahead of the Australia tour, which he conceded was the year’s “pinnacle”.

The squad for England’s first Test of the summer, against New Zealand at Lord’s, is expected to be announced on Tuesday, and may provide an opportunity for some of England’s uncapped squad members – notably Gloucestershire’s James Bracey and Sussex’s Ollie Robinson – to test their mettle on the big stage after long periods on the sidelines during the team’s recent bio-secure campaigns.

However, Root admitted the importance of striking the right balance between opportunities for fringe candidates and sufficient game-time for the first-choice players, especially given the continued uncertainty about how long the Covid-safe environments will have to be kept in place.

“It’s very difficult at the minute, the circumstances make it very tricky,” Root told Sky Sports during Yorkshire’s ongoing County Championship clash with Glamorgan in Cardiff. “You’ve got to factor in so many different things and the welfare of the players is obviously paramount.

“But this is what you play for, years like this one. You want to pit yourself against the best, you want to be successful against the best, and this is the opportunity to do it.”

The New Zealand series will be an early test of the ECB’s new selection arrangements. Ed Smith’s removal as national selector last month means that Silverwood holds an unprecedented influence within the England camp, but Root believes his new role will add clarity to the process, given the bond that already exists between captain and coach.

“More than anything, it just means that that relationship between the two of us has to be as strong as ever,” he said. “We get on very well and we’ve got a good understanding of each other. We know what we want, and so hopefully, that process becomes a little bit easier.

“It’s always a tricky balance,” he said of the prospect of blooding some new faces against New Zealand. “What you’re trying to do is create that environment where you’ve got a strong squad of players that have been together for a good period of time, but no-one going in cold.

“You can’t plan everything perfectly, especially at the minute with Covid. There might be natural opportunities where things arise, there might not be, but the most important thing is that we remain very open-minded about how we want to move going forward.

“We’ve got some really important cricket coming up. And we’ve got to prioritise that. So when we sit down, we’ll factor in everything as best we can, and make sure that we’ve got a real clear idea of how we want to go, how we want the year to look, and how we’re going to peak for that tour of Australia.”

England overtook Australia as the No.3-ranked Test team this week, behind New Zealand and India, who face off in next month’s World Test Championship final at the Ageas Bowl, and after impressing for the first half of their recent tour of Sri Lanka and India, Root is confident their Test plans are on track.



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Former India Women’s coach WV Raman alleges ‘smear campaign’ against him in email to Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid

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He says it will be “extremely disconcerting” if his candidature was rejected due to reasons other than “my incompetency as a coach”

India Women’s outgoing head coach WV Raman has alleged that a “smear campaign” against him has gained unwarranted traction and he has urged the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly to stop it. In an email that Raman also sent to the National Cricket Academy head Rahul Dravid, he wrote it will be “extremely disconcerting” if his candidature was rejected due to reasons other than “my incompetency as a coach”.

Raman was not retained as the head coach of the senior women’s team by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) which picked Ramesh Powar for the job.

“I presume you might have been told different views about my style of functioning and work ethic,” Raman wrote. “Whether those views conveyed to the officials of the BCCI had any impact on my candidature is of no consequence now.



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